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Creative writing courses - worth it or not?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Vidar, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Vidar

    Vidar Scribe

    Hi Guys,

    I'm really trying to get serious about my writing and just wondering if Creative Writing courses are worth the price? The course I would like to do is this one:-

    Writing Novels and Short Stories

    Every Thursday starting from October 11th 2012 until March 31st 2013 at 1900
    Presented by: Emma Segar at The University of Liverpool
    Enrolment closing date: Friday, September 28th 2012

    This course will cover all aspects of prose fiction writing and is suitable for both beginners and more experienced writers. We will use informal discussion, practical workshops and homework assignments to cover the entire writing process, from planning to publication.

    Cost: £132, Concessions: £80

    I mean this one is at a very highly respected university but I've never heard of the tutor if she is published what has she written???
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I don't know about this course but I found the Open University course A174 Start writing fiction very helpful.
    Vidar likes this.
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    In my experience, the primary benefit of attending a course on fiction writing is being around and interacting with other writers. You'll not likely hear anything in the class you can't get from a book or from a free online course or video. But when it comes to the workshopping and actually sitting face to face with other writers, I think that is valuable.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
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  4. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

    I think that these courses are very valuable. Not only for the information, but for the socialization. It's helpful to meet people that are fighting the same fight you are in the writing world. After all, that's why most of us come to the Scribes, is it not? Having someone in the same room with you is ten times better than anything you can find online.
    Vidar likes this.
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    I agree with the above posts. You aren't going to come out of the class polished but you may have some new insights. It's also extremely valuable just to begin the mix & mingle with others in the industry. Writing books are great and you can learn a great deal from them &, in truth, most of your learning as a writer will be solitary (by writing alone). However, having a professional to ask questions to and receiving immediate feedback can be a tremendous help.

    If you're concerned about the instructor's credentials, there's nothing wrong with calling the university to inquire about her.
    Vidar likes this.
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    From my experience, classes are hit and miss. Generally they tend to be a mixed bag of experience and IMHO you can get the same thing by finding a writer's group to join. I think the biggest benefit like others have said is the interaction with other writers. You may find like minded writers that maybe will want to keep meeting after the course is over and form a writing group.

    This may not be your experience, but for me, in classes you'll encounter, people who aren't ready to be critiqued and those who are overly critical. I had the unfortunate experience to witness some jack-off almost bring a guy to tears.
    Vidar likes this.
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Coming from someone who got their Master's in English (with a focus in Creative Writing), I can say these kind of classes can be both helpful and stifling (depending on your class). I took several courses in Creative writing (short stories and poetry) and it always seemed I was met with either "Wow, you're really bizarre and that's cool" or "Your stories are disgusting and I hate you." I've since toned down my style a bit, but a lot of these courses seem to be against genre fiction. I think they can be good for learning craft, but if your sole goal is to write fantasy fiction, then they usually don't offer much insight into how that can be beneficial to your career as a writer.

    I figure this course will cover mechanical aspects mostly, but if it offers any way to market and sell your writing, then I think it's worth jumping on. Either way I think the pros outweigh the cons, so go for it! Like other said, one of the benefits is to socialize with other people that have the same passion as you (like this site) so you can learn a lot from them as well.
  8. korabas

    korabas Dreamer

    I also have a Masters in Creative Writing, and I agree with what Phil has said about these courses being both helpful and stifling. They are very useful for learning the general mechanics but as writing is such a personal thing to do there's only so far they can take you.

    For me, after 3 years of an English degree (focusing on writing) and another year of post grad I found that actually sitting down to write started to feel like 'working' rather than play.. I have been unable to do any serious writing for several years, and am tortured by great ideas for stories and novels that I am unable to make any progress on. Argh!

    But don't let my moaning put you off, lol ;)
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